Turning WebSphere Complexity To Capability

Distributed systems, deployed across different platforms, and integrating a variety of Web-based, front-office, back-office, legacy and packaged applications and databases, increase the number of places and interactions that can cause critical failures or slow response times for customers using e-commerce applications.

But during the ebizQ webinar Business Service Management for the WebSphere Environment, part of the series sponsored by BMC Software, Improving Business Agility Through Business Service Management, BMC Consulting Product Manager Jim Byrd shared numerous ways to identify, control and optimize WebSphere components to help align business and IT goals.

“Customers commonly build and integrate their most business-critical systems on the WebSphere foundation, and predominantly rely on the WebSphere Application Server to develop and deploy new application services, WebSphereMQ to integrate a variety of applications across the enterprise, and WebSphere business integration brokers to control complex and high-volume message traffic.

“Ensuring the availability and performance of these components is critical. If any central WebSphere technology fails or performs poorly, all applications, users, and business processes that rely on these technologies are at risk. Managing these components to help you achieve reliable business processing and deliver required services is essential.”

Along those lines, Byrd offered a detailed explanation of how Business Service Management (BSM) can help companies improve business performance, simplify IT complexity, and reduce cost. Identifying critical business components – and adopting strong systems management procedures – are the crucial first steps.

He advocated a ”Service Impact Management” approach that enables enterprises to tie service-level agreements to business needs, rather than technology metrics. That facilitates companies “identifying and automatically fixing IT problems without human intervention before they impact the business.”

Byrd covered how to use WebSphereMQ message-oriented middleware to build efficient data-sharing business services, and cautioned that, “WebSphereMQ availability and reliability are absolutely critical to business productivity.” With numerous components and functions, MQ can present “an interesting management challenge.”

Byrd outlined how BMC’s PATROL for WebSphere MQ provides centralized administration of WebSphere MQ objects, messages, logs, brokers and workflow activity. Its object database supports advanced administration features to group and schedule changes, create virtual objects, and undo changes. It also provides in-depth statistics management to improve queue and application performance and automated recovery from MQ errors.

He provided an overview of the WebSphere Application Server anatomy, including how WebSphere server performance is affected by servlet and JSPs invocation counts and execution times, memory allocations, request counts, thread availability and execution queue throughput and request timeout values.

Byrd explained how continuous monitoring and smart allocation of memory can optimize the frequency of server-stressing garbage collection, and how to balance resource pooling for optimum performance.

PATROL for the WebSphere Application Server provides a GUI-based console that can selectively monitor the administration server and node agent, application servers, database connectivity, and Web server connectivity.

Application server error log scans can determine the root cause of application outages. “The solution sets off an alarm when critical error messages arrive in a log, [to enable fast reaction]. You also want to monitor log growth rates, and the overall log size,” said Byrd.

Servlet errors and Enterprise Java Beans should be monitored to insure optimum Web server availability, he advised. Byrd also pointed out how Web users’ frequent connections and disconnections put a premium on pooling JDBC database connections to improve response time.

“If the database access connection time is slowing, a Web-based customer's response time could be affected. A solution would be to [set an] alarm when the database pools are about to be depleted or when an application has held a database connection too long.

“The point is the more information you have, the easier it will be to identify and resolve problems, hopefully before they impact users.”

Dynamically updating infrastructure changes in BMC’s Remedy Asset Manager enables companies “use this information to continually evolve your business service model and easily add more value to your business,” with the result that “the business service model directly connects your technology components to your critical business services,” Byrd observed.

To find out more ways to add value to your current management paradigm and IT infrastructure by evolving to BSM, watch a replay of Business Service Management for the WebSphere Environment.

About the Author

Gian Trotta is ebizQ's managing editor. Before joining ebizQ, he developed a wide variety of virtual news and community features for Newsday, Prodigy, Time Inc., Excite, About.com and MSNBC.

More by Gian Trotta

About ebizQ

ebizQ is the insider’s guide to next-generation business process management. We offer a growing collection of independent editorial articles on BPM trends, issues, challenges and solutions, all targeted to business and IT BPM professionals.

We cover BPM standards, governance, technology and continuous process improvement, as well as process discovery, modeling, simulation and optimization, among many other areas. We follow case management, decision management, business rules management, operational intelligence, complex event processing and other related topics. We closely track important trends such as the rise of social BPM, mobile BPM and BPM in the cloud. We also explore BPM’s use in functional areas, such as supply chain and customer management, and in key verticals, such as financial services, health care, insurance and government.

ebizQ's other BPM-oriented content includes podcasts, webcasts, webinars, white papers, a variety of expert blogs, a lively online forum and much more.